This essay tells the first-person story of a big woman who is made to feel physically beautiful for the first time in her life. She’s been made to feel beautiful in other ways by other men, but it’s always been despite her looks rather than because of them. Not so with this guy. She sleeps with him. Then on another visit he makes her uncomfortable by ignoring her boundaries in various ways, and as she rebuffs him he attempts to rape her. She finally bites him on the arm to get him to leave. And the point is, she is so shaken by the experience that she distrusts a man she meets later, who also seems to genuinely like her looks.
Her story is not my point. What I want to examine is this comment:
How did Dr. Jekyll become Mr. Hyde? It couldn’t be booze, because there was that at the bar in the hotel where they met. This story, while poignant, is very odd. Also, the notion that a fat woman can never be loved both for who she is and how she looks is simply not credible. There are plenty of fat fetishist men out there, even web sites.
There’s a lot wrong with this comment, and I’m going to start at the end and work back to the most important one. First, being “fetishized” is not being loved. Second, she never said a fat woman can’t be loved for how she looks, just that she hasn’t experienced that.
But most importantly, the Jeckyll and Hyde thing is not odd at all. It is so common, in fact, that people call it the “Jeckyll and Hyde syndrome” – go ahead, copy that into the search engine of your choice and see what I mean. People who are abusive – whether they’re rapists, or the type to verbally abuse you, emotionally manipulate you, or take over your bank account – are typically good actors. They have to be – otherwise they’d be seen clearly for what they are and jailed (if appropriate) or shunned by all the people they want to impress. They learn to wear the Jeckyll face in public and the Hyde comes out in private.
But they also learn to show you the Jeckyll face for a while, until they’ve got you where they want you. This could be two dates, a whole courtship, however long it takes to worm their way into your will, etc. And then suddenly you meet Mr. – or Ms. – Hyde. But, if Hyde judged things correctly, by then it’s too late for you to easily extricate yourself from the damage they’ve done.
It’s called conning and I’m not sure why people find it “odd” that rapists engage in it. But sadly, one of the best defenses against a rape accusation is “We’d previously had consensual sex.” It’s effective because too few people understand that the vast majority of rapists are as capable of impulse control as anyone else. They aren’t compelled to rape – if they were, they’d do it right in front of cops in the town square if that’s where the urge struck (what the law calls irresistible impulse to determine legal sanity). Rapists simply like to rape, so like most of us with our hobbies, they take steps to create situations in which they get to do what they enjoy.
Rapists often operate just like people who worm their way into someone’s life just to get their money. Whether it’s someone marrying for money or cozying up to an elderly person in hopes of inheriting a buck or two, these people often have no affection at all for their target, but they will feign affection convincingly to get what they want. Many rapists, particularly the ones who avoid capture, are con artists.
Can someone explain to me why this is such a mystery to so many people?